When you name your band Sleepy Hollow how easy is it to escape the legend of the headless rider?
Bob Mitchell: Actually we never had the idea of naming the band after the Washington Irving story. The simple truth is, we named the band after the township of Sleepy Hollow in New York. As we all know, there have been several bands that have named themselves after either the towns they are from or towns they have visited. As for the images that are relative to the tales of Sleepy Hollow, we made a concious effort to stay away from all of that and that is why we created our mascot, the Demonic Pegasus.
Pure Steel seems to specialize in finding bands that may have been at sleep but not forgotten. How did you end up with an album on a German label?
BM: When we first came back, we were actually offered to have “Skull 13” released on vinyl through my friend at High Roller Records. Then later, as we were working on the album, the offer came from Pure Steel and it was mutually worked out between the two labels to have it released in both formats. We have a great contract with Pure Steel and Andreas has been great to us. It doesn’t look like we will be leaving them any time soon. As for High Roller, based on the agreement between the two companies, there will be another SLEEPY HOLLOW vinyl from them.
When you release albums 20 years apart how active has Sleepy Hollow been in the time between?
BM: Not very active at all, but our name and music has sustained itself for all these years, thankfully. We are all taken back by the reaction we have gotten through our live shows and we as pleased to see that “Skull 13” is doing so well. I believe that it’s true what they say, “Absence makes the heart grow fonder”.
What was it that didn’t work out for you the first time around? Was there one single reason why the album didn’t take off in the 90s?
BM: I’m not sure really. We had a great run the first time around as far as live shows and selling records was concerned. It could possibly be the trend changes that were occurring in the business at the time. We may have been caught in the middle of the change whereas record companies had decided to change their recipes for success. Many bands that I know personally had changed their style in order to stay in the game and some bands, myself included, decided to stick to my beliefs and protect the integrity of the works I’ve contributed over the years. Actually, I never thought about it, I’m just happy to know the band is relevant. It’s a privilege to be an entertainer and to be surrounded by an amazing group of musicians. I am also proud that we have a fan-base that has left me or the band. SLEEPY HOLLOW is is a great position right now t make a difference once again.
Was it hard to record an album that would follow in the footsteps of the first one? Or did you even think along those lines when you wrote and recorded the album?
BM: No it wasn’t hard at all for us. Some of the songs on “Skull 13” never made it to our debut so we dusted those songs off and added newly written material which all fit quite nicely as far as continuity is concerned. It was a fun album to make, I basically had done the vocals in one take and then some revisions were made. It’s important to maintain the initial performance, because it has to also be performed live. So if there are any flaws, it’s a good thing only because its real and it is you. Like I always say, “If you have to force it, then don’t sing it”.
How different was it to record as Sleepy Hollow today compared to the first time around?
BM: What has changed is the technology. I am hoping that on the next album we can all be together as a band like we did early in our career. The best albums are from bands that are together in one room and crank it up. It works best that way because you off of each other’s energy. That is the one thing that is lacking from “Skull 13”, we basically phoned in our parts although it came out sounding great, there is that lack of unity from the bands performance. On the other side, however, our songs really came together on the live stage and that’s because after we recorded the album we got together and rehearsed and then performed so, fortunately, the songs off our new album lent themselves quite nicely live.
Did you feel that you were a part of a thriving metal scene in New Jersey back in the days? What kind of bands were around when you released the first album?
BM: It was a great scene back then. When our album was released, there were bands like EZO, Nuclear Assault, TT Quick, Non-Fiction just to name a few. We eventually wound up sharing the stages with these bands and we actually had a great run the first time around. But I am not here to discuss past accomplishments. What we have done has laid the groundwork for what is yet to come. We are privileged to still be around and still be relevant. The fact that we had released a new album and to have it well received after all these years really speaks for itself.
Now that you return so to speak how in touch are you with the metal scene of today?
BM: The business has no doubt changed and in some cases not for the better. But the spirit and passion of Heavy Metal is alive and well. From what I see there really hasn’t been much of a change amongst fans and bands for that matter. It is the fans that will keep Heavy Metal alive, not the business.
What is it that you want this new album to achieve? Do you have any grander expectations on it?
BM: We would love to sell a million copies, but in reality, the fans will decide where our albums belong. We do our best to provide the fans of Heavy Metal with what we can offer. As I said, it is a privilege to be in this business and we have a great opportunity to be able to create albums, engage in live shows and share the stages with other great bands. I feel as though nothing more can be said about it.
How do you look upon the future of the band today?
BM: We can only continue to work hard and give the fans what they want. Our future can only be based on what we accomplish today. I will say, however, that our future does look pretty bright.